ACPA17: Work-Life Balance, Resiliency & Hospitality!

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The national convention for ACPA17 is right around the corner! I’ve experienced so much positive energy from being a member of this diverse community! The annual convention experience refuels my purpose and transforms my work in Higher Education. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to Connect, Experience, Reflect, Invest, and Transform!

This month, I have a new opportunity to present with Renée Hill, Dean of Student Life, and Denise Harris, Vice Provost for Student Engagement at Hilbert College, Buffalo, N.Y.. We will present an educational session at the upcoming American College Personnel Association (ACPA) conference, titled “Work-Life Balance: Interwoven Life Tapestries of Motherhood, Management and Mentorship.” The session is sponsored by the Coalition for Women’s Identities and the Commission for Administrative Leadership. This is my first educational session at a national conference and it’s an honor to present with my current and former supervisors; both of these women shaped my career in Higher Education; they are also role models and examples of women who are exemplary in leadership. I am thankful for their roles in developing my strengths and their support to help me grow as a manager, mentor and mother.

During ACPA, I  will also give a PechaKucha called “Never, Never Give Up: The Resiliency of Former Foster Youth.” I will be speaking about my experiences as a former foster youth and the development of the Columbus State Scholar Network. My session will be given in an innovative presentation format in which presenters show 20 images for 20 seconds each, covering a wide range of topics, ideas, perspectives and thoughts. I have been working on my session for over a month; it’s going to be difficult to speak about my life and passion in only six minutes and forty seconds! I am incredibly excited to have this platform to share about my growth and how we can all support former foster youth in college.

Finally, it has been a great learning opportunity to serve as the hospitality coordinator on the ACPA17 convention experiences team. I have been overseeing the development of the Welcome Kiosk, Lactation and Family Space, Service-on-the-Go projects, and the affirmation and reflection boards. I am thankful to be a member of the planning team, they have been nothing but supportive; together, we have brainstormed ideas to shape a great convention experience for 2017! Being a part of the planning team has helped me to refocus my attention on the heart of hospitality and enhance my practice with my students to consider their needs and to focus on tangible ways to support them as they face challenges in their lives.

You can read my complete online blog post, “What’s Your Happy Place?”(about the conference) here.

 

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Breaking

Imagine the sound of a breaking glass; how does it make you feel? How long does it take to clean it up? How long do you spend making sure all the pieces are completely gone from the room?  Do you feel comfortable at all? I feel uneasy, I vacuum repeatedly and then I get on my hands and knees to make sure I haven’t forgotten any remaining shreds of glass. I want to protect my toddler from getting hurt.

Now, imagine the sound of screams; the breaking of glass and the agony of the Holocaust ripping apart families and the loss of life that followed; no one can really fathom how many hearts and lives were broken. Do you feel uncomfortable? When I watch movies like Schindler’s List, I am moved with compassion to do something today, for displaced foster youth. Movies are able to capture a glimpse, but they cannot fully place us in the same shoes that were removed just before thousands of people died together in gas chambers. If I sat through this film today, as a mother, I know I would be moved to tears, even more so,  than when I watched it for the first time in 11th grade; what I am trying to say, is that we can’t fathom what it felt like for all of the Jewish people, but it is possible to embody the spirit of those who stood up and risked their own lives to save others.

When I lived in NY, my heart expanded after I gained a better understanding of what it meant to be an advocate, I sought to help college students stand up against injustices. During my time working in Higher Education in NY, I acquired insight about Kristallnacht (also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass); November 9- 10 (just last week) marked 75 years since the night of broken glass occurred.

This post was written because tonight, I came across two instrumental people who helped save Children during the Holocaust; Nicholas Winton (he saved 669 Jewish children) and Irena Sendler (she saved 2500 children). I was brought to tears, as I sat and watched videos on youtube about these two individuals; for many years, they were unknown heroes, only known by the individual lives they touched, they went completely unrecognized for their relentless compassion. By chance, their stories were uncovered; they didn’t seek to be in the limelight. Their stories are so powerful; they made decisions in their lives to put others before themselves. That gift is transformational in so many ways…

Do yourself a favor, visit  http://thearcanefront.com/nicholas-winton-how-a-29-year-old-stockbroker-saved-669-lives-on-nights-and-weekends-2/4421
and then don’t visit (because I’ve already done the math)  Miley Cirus’ video, Wrecking Ball.

Take a second to compare the views:

1,146,626 vs.  320,786,459

Why is there such a gap? (Oh, that’s a completely different post all together)

I truly believe that both Nicholas Winton and Irena Sendler’s stories need to be heard atleast  300 million times and acknowledged, so we can take bold steps to accomplish more good in the world. For instance, instead of wasting our time giving musicians grandiose notoriety, we can support causes, such as the Red Cross who currently champion the Relief efforts for the Philippines; or we can pay attention to the statistics of children in the foster care system and think about becoming foster parents or giving an extra gift or gift card this year to foster youth during the holiday season; or we can volunteer and give our time; or we can donate our piggy banks to a charity of our choice; after all, there are so many expressions of kindness that we can demonstrate daily in our lives, it’s all a matter of priority, sacrifice and opening our hearts wide enough, to allow compassion to expand into every chamber of our lives, so we can embody the spirit of those who stood up during the Holocaust and risked their own lives to save countless children.

Your heart may break (a little or a lot), but I promise your efforts will heal hearts; maybe even your own. . .